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Europe, US Congratulate Greece on Same-Sex Marriage Law

Greece same sex marriage
In the Greek Parliament, PM Mitsotakis and members of his governing party celebrate the new law of Greece on same-sex marriage. Credit: AMNA

Twenty-eight foreign embassies accredited to Greece have jointly issued a statement applauding the enactment of legislation on same-sex marriage.

“We would like to welcome the adoption of marriage equality legislation and the recognition of same-sex families. Extending the fundamental right to marriage to same-sex couples has been an important milestone in the journey toward equality and dignity in all our countries. We celebrate this historic moment together with the people, parliament and government of Greece,” the statement said.

The statement was endorsed by the embassies of The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Luxembourg, the United States, Colombia, Australia, Finland, Germany, Malta, Austria, Chile, Mexico, Switzerland, and Estonia.

Greece’s 300-member Parliament passed the bill in a roll call vote on Thursday night. The legislation garnered support from 254 lawmakers, with 176 voting in favor and 76 against.

Late on Thursday night, at Syntagma Square in the heart of Athens, happy crowds had gathered outside the building of the Greek Parliament, waving rainbow flags and cheering for what they deemed to be a big step for Greece’s LGBTQ+ community.

Mitsotakis: Greece is proud to legislate same-sex marriage

“The vote has passed: as of tonight, Greece is proud to become the 16th EU country to legislate marriage equality,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis posted on X. “This is a milestone for human rights, reflecting today’s Greece—a progressive, and democratic country, passionately committed to European values,” he added.

Mitsotakis, who personally spearheaded the bill, had urged lawmakers to “boldly abolish a serious inequality” in Greek democracy that had rendered same-sex families “invisible.”

Greece passed legislation in 2015 allowing civil unions between same-sex people. The new law goes further to allow child adoption, while excluding the option of surrogacy.

Same-sex couples can now also adopt in Greece but not have a baby through a surrogate. Like in much of the EU, surrogacy remains a thorny issue and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who tabled the legislation as “a matter of equality,” clarified early on that this was not something he was willing to tackle.

“The idea of women who are turned into child-producing machines on demand…that is not going to happen,” he said.

Greece is the first Orthodox country to legalize same-sex marriage

Greece is the first majority-Orthodox Christian nation to legalize same-sex marriage under civil law, the Associated Press Reports.

Eastern Orthodox leadership, despite lacking a single doctrinal authority like a pope, has been united in opposing recognition of same-sex relationships both within its own rites and in the civil realm.

It should be added, however, that there are some signs of change. Two small majority-Orthodox countries, Montenegro and Cyprus, have authorized same-sex unions in recent years, as did Greece in 2015 before upgrading to this week’s approval of full marital status.

Civil unions may become more common among Orthodox countries gravitating toward the European Union. They remain off the table in Russia, which has cracked down on LGBTQ+ expression, and countries in its orbit.

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